Thompson (66) shares early Evian lead


Birdies were hard to come by during the opening round of the Evian Championship, just not for Lexi Thompson. Here's how things look after 18 holes in Evian-les-Bains, France, where Thompson shares the lead as she eyes a second major title:

Leaderboard: Lexi Thompson (-5), Mi Hyang Lee (-5), Gerina Piller (-4), Eun-Hee Ji (-4), Pornanong Phatlum (-4), Shanshan Feng (-3), Minjee Lee (-3)

What it means: Thompson went out early and turned in a bogey-free 66 to take the lead, although Lee joined her late in the day as conditions eased up. Several players struggled to break par, including world No. 1 Inbee Park (72) and No. 3 Stacy Lewis (73), and only 16 players broke 70 as the course lived up to its major billing. 

Round of the day: Thompson started on the back nine and got things going with a birdie on No. 12. She followed with an eagle on the par-5 13th and added two more birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, picking up all of her strokes in a four-hole stretch. She surrounded that flurry with a steady diet of pars, and now is in contention for what would be her second win of the year.

Best of the rest: Lee got out of the gates fast, with birdies on three of her first four holes, making seven total. After making the turn in 2-under 34, Lee closed with three birdies over her final seven holes and needed only 26 putts to complete her round.

Biggest disappointment: Outside of Thompson and Piller, the U.S. roster for next week's Solheim Cup had some struggles. Heading that list were Paula Creamer, who opened with a 74, and Michelle Wie, who shot a 4-over 75 as she continues to battle through an injury-plagued season. Both players now have work to do simply to make the 36-hole cut.

Main storyline heading into Friday: The player to watch remains Thompson, whose length off the tee gives her a formidable advantage on any track. Should the putter cooperate, she will remain in the mix deep into the weekend. Still, the list of notables within striking distance includes former world No. 1 Lydia Ko and former major champ Morgan Pressel, who both sit three shots off the pace after rounds of 2-under 69.

Quote of the day: "I'm more of a feel player. I'm not very technical, so I love to see my golf shots going into pins or how my putts roll." - Thompson